I almost missed an anniversary – before uploading today’s lunchtime run, my Garmin Connect activity counter was at exactly 1000 activities! My average activity is obviously pretty exactly one hour long, has me move 11.7 km, burns a bit less than 500 Calories and has me gain 184 metres. Aha!
I started uploading to Garmin Connect in September 2010. It’s a lot of fun to see stats grow like this!
About two weeks ago, I took care of what triathlon training guru Joe Friel calls the “big rock of cycling”: a bike fit. Seeing that I (ab)use a road bike for triathlons, any fit will be a compromise; eventually, I’ll get a tri bike (Ironman 2014?) and build the current bike back to road configuration.
Until then, I plan to make good use of it, though! The fit was more of a lesson on how to pedal. I started being concerned whether we would change my position at all, but one by one, we addressed everything.
My take away are four points.
Feet: I’m supposed to pull much more than I do currently. The ankle should be at a 90° angle when at the lowest point, and my calves should not work much. One-legged drills and fixed gear/spinning bikes are the way to train that.
Knees: they should be close to the top tube at the top of every rotation. Look at any pro tour rider, they almost cross over.
Core: a stable core and a steady lower back act as “counter bearing” for the legs.
Arms: the arms should be relaxed.
To achieve all that, we first had to get my front a bit down. I got a longer stem to stretch me out, and we tried a flatter headset, but it didn’t quite fit, so just the stem it was.
Then I complained a little about my saddle, and moments later, I was sitting on an ISM Adamo Racing saddle. Split nose and all. It had to come down a little, but felt immediately quite comfortable.
To facilitate the whole “pulling and knees together” thing, the cleats were shifted and rotated a little. I realise I should maybe replace my cleats sometime soon. But the ones I have are at the right place now!
Finally, we adjusted the extensions a little bit by rotating them upwards.
I haven’t tested the new setup yet because a) I was busy running and b) the weather was terrible. I’m very curious to see how it’ll work out! I’m not completely sold by the whole methodology, I was expect more “fitting” and less “talking”. But the guy is reputed and successful, so I hope for the best!
As a part of “Project Triple Couple” (TriCo for short), I spent a weekend in Filisur (i.e., in the Alps) in January. It was all Winter sports oriented: skate skiing and a little jog on Saturday, snowshoeing on Sunday.
The short evening run went past parts of the Bernina railway, which is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. Because I didn’t take any pictures, Google Earth will have to do: note the awesome viaduct in the left third of the first picture.
Sunday’s snowshoe “walk” was scheduled to be about five hours long. Five hours it was indeed, but in net time; we spent almost eight hours battling the cold, the wind and the absence of any sunlight. I wore a rather new pair of army boots; today, three months later, the blisters on both heels are hardly visible anymore. Success!
The picture doesn’t do the epic undertaking much justice. It should be all white, covered in snow, and it should look much steeper, because that’s how it felt. More than 1400 metres of climbing!
All in all, a great weekend, though. More TriCo reporting to come!
Instead of frantically trying to catch up with ancient race reports (up next: a gem from July 2012) and long due year reviews (2011, anyone?), this is one of my rare “on time” posts. It’s even ahead of time, because it’s an outlook!
What am I training for this year? Which are my “A” races? It’s not hard to define for once:
Boston Marathon: That’s this Monday. Uh-oh. I used my qualifying time from NYC Marathon 2011 to sign up, did my unlaziest Winter in training ever and finished with a dedicated seven weeks plan leading up to the race. It’s a variation of the one I used for New York, with a bit more XC skiing mixed in and more really long runs instead of run/bike bricks. March was my biggest month in running ever and I should be prepared! My goal is something like 2:54:30.
Gigathlon: This a six day stage race, taking place in July. Every day consists of swimming, road biking, mountain biking, inline skating and running – and much of each. It would be proposterous to tackle an event of the size of roughly six Ironman races alone, so I’ve teamed up and will do the race as half of a mixed couple. Together with two other mixed couples (all people from the ASVZ tri camps), the whole undertaking is known as “Project Triple Couple” and will be by far the biggest endurance challenge I’ve ever undertaken.
Berlin Marathon: In September. I got talked into doing it by one of the guys I went to New York with; most unfortunately, he’s injured now and won’t be able to run! I hope to best my PB on the fast course. The PB from Boston, hopefully. Also, this will mark 50% on the World Marathon Majors bucket list. Only Tokyo, London and Chicago left afterwards.
And with that, back to the ton of drafts waiting to be completed and published.
I have finished my tram running project! The last run took me up to no man’s land to the end of line 9 (Hirzenbach) and the end of line 11 (Auzelg). Line 11 ends in the middle of line 12, and as I’ve mentioned already, line 12 is where Zurich is ugly.
The missing part of line 11 was only between Auzelg and the main station; the last missing part of the project was line 7 between Paradeplatz and Enge train station. I could have covered that earlier, but absent-mindedly opted to do a part of line 5 I’d done before when I was supposed to to line 7.
Which was fine, because my training plan scheduled a run long enough to fit that last missing part exactly. This is the final status, obivously all lines bold (because finished) now, added parts in italics:
2: Farbhof – Tiefenbrunnen (100%)
3: Albisrieden – Klusplatz (100%)
4: Bahnhof Altstetten Nord – Tiefenbrunnen (100%)
5: Zoo – Laubegg (100%)
6: Zoo – Bahnhof Enge (100%)
7: Bahnhof Stettbach – Paradeplatz, Paradeplatz – Bahnhof Enge, Bahnhof Enge – Wollishofen (100%)
My latest and last1 swim gadget: the PT paddle. “PT” stands for “perfect technique”, or so they say. It’s an “anti paddle”: your hand just slips through the water, and the idea is that you’ll better engage your forearm to create propulsion. Once you take it off, your awareness for pulling should be heightened.
All in all, it’s a fancy version of “swimming with hands closed to fists”. I tried them today just quickly, and it was hard to get anywhere.
Pictured in the background: the awful weather Zurich is experiencing at the moment. Perfect reason for indoor sports.
Before yesterday’s run, there were only about 25 km left in my tram running project. I decided (after very long deliberation as the weather was awful and it was late already) to finish the lines in the South (3, 6, 7) and leave the ones in the North (9, 11) for a last tram run. I eventually braved the rain and started my (dark, cold and boring) run. Seriously, line number 7 between Enge and Wollishofen… booooooooring. (Also, I got lost for a while and did some extra climbing.)
Being soaked and cold, I did a regrettable mistake on my way back from Wollishofen, supposedly covering line 7 from Wollishofen to Irchel: at Enge train station, I took a right turn “to cover that bit of line 5 where the 5 goes sometimes but not always”. First of all, number 5 always goes that way, and secondly I have already covered that part, which leaves a little part of 7 still uncovered. Stupid.
Also, I wouldn’t have had to go to Irchel, Schaffhauserplatz would have been enough. Then again, the training plan said “20 to 24 km”, so I had to go somewhere.
With this run, the status of the project is as follows (italics for newly covered lines, bold for finished lines):
7: Bahnhof Stettbach – Schaffhauserplatz, Schaffhauserplatz – Paradeplatz, Bahnhof Enge – Wollishofen (90%)
8: Hardplatz – Klusplatz (100%)
9: Irchel – Triemli (70%)
10: Flughafen, Fracht – Löwenplatz (100%)
11: Bahnhofstrasse/HB – Rehalp (30%)
12: Flughafen, Fracht – Bahnhof Stettbach (100%)
13: Frankental – Albisgüetli (100%)
14: Seebach – Triemli (100%)
15: Bucheggplatz – Klusplatz (100%)
17: Werdhölzli – Löwenplatz (100%)
The parts I haven’t done yet lend themselves very well for a single run (except the stupid part of line 7). I’d appreciate it if to this end, the weather would change from “rainy Winter” to “normal Easter”, thank you!